As the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns are being relaxed across the ASEAN countries, Thai consumers are showing the highest propensity to get back on the road, starting with domestic travel, according to a Mastercard-Crescent Rating Travel Readiness Report published this week.
The Report is issued annually by Mastercard, a major credit card company, and Crescent Rating, a Singapore-based research company specializing in Muslim travel trends. The contents of this year’s Report were refocused to analyses the impact of the pandemic on ASEAN travel.
Mr Safdar Khan, Division President, Southeast Asia Emerging Markets Mastercard, said, “At a time like this, every player in the travel space is faced with the question of how they can act now and plan, as governments start easing restrictions. As we all prepare for a new normal, there is a need for reliable data insights that can help sectors plan and future proof their businesses.”
Mr Fazal Bahardeen, Founder & CEO of Crescent Rating, added, “While we have laid out the travel economy numbers and indicators to understand the impact of the disruption, the focus of this report is to provide all stakeholders with frameworks and models to help them build strategic plans to chart their own paths to growth.”
The Report shows that Thailand was the first ASEAN country to report a case of COVID-19, followed by Vietnam and Singapore. It showed that all the ASEAN countries have now begun easing travel restrictions, which means that the worst is deemed to be over.
The data also includes a wealth of statistics about how the lockdowns impacted on travel, household finances and shopping trends. It then takes a look ahead and analyses Future Trip Planning Sentiments, with a focus on Domestic and Intra-ASEAN Travel.
This is where Thailand comes out well.
Asked about their likelihood to plan a domestic trip, 49% of Thai respondents said they would “definitely” take one, and another 13% said they would “probably” do so. Furthermore, 7% of Thais said they would “definitely” take a foreign trip, and 25% said they would “probably” do so.
The report stated, “Intra-ASEAN tourism was estimated at USD 54 billion in 2019. This was projected to grow to USD 57 Billion by 2022. Intra-ASEAN represents around 36% of the total ASEAN outbound market.
“The top 3 intra-ASEAN travelers are from Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore. They account for around 74% of the intra-ASEAN trips. This suggests a possibility for ASEAN destinations to also tap into travelers who had planned to travel outside of ASEAN, who now may be attracted to travel within ASEAN as intra-regional travel starts to open up.”